For years, the organizers of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, as well as various archbishops, have defended against calls to allow homosexuals to march in the parade under any banner identifying them as a gay group. Last year, bowing to boycott pressure from several sponsors, including Guiness Stout, the parade allowed a group called "Out@NBC Universal" to march. Cardinal Timothy Dolan refused calls to step down as grand marshal in spite of the group’s presence.
“I have no trouble with the decision at all,” Cardinal Dolan said of the group’s admittance to the parade. “I think the decision is a wise one.”
At the time, the vice chairman of the board that oversees the parade, Quinnipiac University president John Lahey, said organizers wanted the focus to be kept on "the gesture of goodwill we made towards the gay community with the inclusion of OUT@NBCUniversal,” and therefore would not be allowing a pro-life group march under its own banner.
Now, according to a report in the New York Daily News, more good will toward the gay community is on the way with Lahey’s appointment as chairman of the board for the parade.
John Dunleavy, the longtime chairman of the group that organizes the high-energy March 17 celebration, was ousted during a board meeting Tuesday night, the Daily News has learned.
Dunleavy, 78, was adamantly against allowing gay groups to participate in the famous Fifth Ave. parade — leading to years of bitter boycotts by many city politicians and LGBT organizations. …
Lahey was given direct authorization to add a second lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender group to the 253-year-old event—and possibly open the door to other groups in future.
"(We are) committed to building on the tradition of celebrating the contributions of all men and women of Irish descent through the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City,” Lahey’s statement said.
Organizers for years emphasized that anyone is welcome to march as individuals, but that since the parade is a religious procession honoring Ireland’s patron saint, and that is basically a Catholic event, any banners that would be contradictory to the teachings of the Church would not be allowed.
The News said that Lahey, also a former grand marshal of the parade, said he would leave his post if gay groups were once again banned.